RadioandMusic
| 17 Jul 2018
We are often well prepared for big eventualities - OML co-founder Vijay Nair

MUMBAI: Only Much Louder (OML) has been under scrutiny of late, for a couple of reasons. OML’s co-founder Vijay Nair recently issued a lengthy statement on the cancellation of the much-hyped Jerry Seinfeld Live concert that was scheduled to take place in Mumbai. It came just weeks after police reports were filed against participating members of All India Bakchod Knockout for the controversial roast. However, Nair is assured that learning from these experiences OML will only continue to grow. In an exclusive interview with Radioandmusic.com, Nair spoke on OML’s current association with the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) to implement single license window policies for festival promoters. He also shed light on the upcoming Bacardi NH7 Weekender Shillong edition, as well as OML's ticketing property – Insider.in.

Excerpts:

Tells us about your association with EEMA?

With the help of EEMA, we are reaching out to as many governments as we can; to get them to implement single license window policies. Get governments to reconsider their tax structures, try to reduce that and become more industry friendly. So far, we have asked for an appointment with the Maharashtra and Delhi governments. The appointment with the Delhi government should result in a meeting in a couple of weeks. However, we have still not heard back from the Maharashtra government. We are talking one step at a time and moving forward.

How has been the response of the industry and the OML investors?

With EEMA, we have received tremendous support from all over the industry, especially since it is a problem that troubles everybody, not just us. It is a good opportunity for us to come together and work towards a common cause. And as far as our investors and the OML ecosystem is concerned, everyone has been together without causing any trouble.

What have been the repercussions of the Jerry Seinfeld incident on OML, as an enterprise?

While there has been a financial setback, the Seinfeld incident will make no difference to our existing and upcoming OML projects; because there is a separate investment plan for them. Besides, OML has always worked in a startup mode for a long time, so we know how to reposition and re-strategise our business.  We are often well prepared for big eventualities.

What is the next OML property after Stage42?

The plan, right now, is to concentrate on our existing properties: Bacardi NH7 Weekender, The Coalition and Stage42; and to expand these to other cities and/or make it much bigger. This is our primary focus right now. We are currently ideating on new festival concepts, but it is too early to speak about it, especially because we are still not sure if we will execute any of them.

What is the current status of two of OML’s other festivals: Invasion Festival and A Summer’s Day?

We had Invasion Festival, which we did for two years and A Summer’s Day, which we did for one year. We will not be reviving any of our aforementioned properties in the coming year. That is because, based on what we have learnt from our experiences, we are trying to diversify into different types of entertainment, not just music.

Could you speak on NH7 Shillong?

We had announced last year, that NH7 would be going to a new city – Shillong. The initial plan was to do it in February, but that got delayed to May because of issues with the venue. However, at this point, we are looking at doing it in October, along with the other cities. We have not finalised on the dates yet, but you can expect it sometime in October.

Are there any different elements that are being added for the Shillong edition?

It will be on the same scale and size as the other cities. There is no scaling down, nor any additional stages. Whenever we go to a new city, the idea is to just go around and feel the pulse of the city. That is something we do for every new city. In terms of venue and location, Shillong is turning out to be quite a fun project for us, because it is the one place we have been dying to get the festival to.

What is your opinion on the rise of music festivals in the North East?

There has always been a market for international and independent music in the North East. While there is an acceptance of Bollywood music, it is not the only form of music that is consumed. Since infrastructure was a hindrance in these regions for the past few years, promoters like us are now going there. This is because now, that obstacle is being properly taken care of. It is not an easy part of the country to produce large properties in. We are excited to see how it goes this year. We know that it will be a learning experience.

What are your plans for Insider.in?

We launched Insider.in sometime mid-last year. Along with the sale of Bacardi NH7 Weekender tickets, the main purpose for us with Insider.in was to ticket our existing events. But we have also partnered with other events and properties to handle their tickets. We aspire to make Insider.in the site where some of the best events across the country are ticketed. Over the next few months, we will try and figure out which direction to we plan to take Insider.in and what kind of partners are we going to work with for the same.

Are there any plans for another Bacardi NH7 Weekender mobile application?

A couple of years ago, we built an app for the festival, but what we noticed was that not many people were able to use it. Also, the internet speed here is not very high and the Wi-Fi zones that we build with our partners are very few. In the future, that is something that we will focus on, but will probably look at a one-app solution for all the events we produce. However, that said, it is the physical experience of the festival that is our primary focus right now.

Could you talk about OML’s production house – Babble Fish Productions?

Babble Fish Productions is something that got consolidated within the company, so all our different divisions are all OML now. On the content side, our focus is less on television, and more on digital. We have had some great success in comedy with All India Bakchod and Pretentious. From all our learning so far, we are going to try and figure out how to re-configure our content business and see what direction we want to go in.

What do you have to say about the controversial All India Bakchod Knockout?

Well, now we are managing an artist known by possibly every tenth individual in the country. It has been phenomenally well received. Of course, there have been controversies around it, but majority have been really happy with the content. It has been one of the most successful projects that OML has been a part of. It has been an incredible experience, and we hope to do it every year.

Could you speak on OML, the artist management agency?

 We still manage dominant players in the independent music scene such as Dualist Inquiry, Nucleya, Anish Sood, The F16s, Swarathma and Ankur Tiwari, to name a few. With artist management, I think, you can never have an expansion strategy except that when there is a rise of new talent, you try and look at how you can build over it in few years.

In your opinion, what is OML’s stand in A&R?

We are fairly fortunate because, thanks to Bacardi NH7 Weekender, many bands send us their demos. Therefore, we have a huge pool that we pick from. Those that we really like, we extend our relationship and start managing them. In my opinion, we have the largest A&R network. We also have teams which go to various schools, colleges and universities to pick talents at a nascent stage.

Like LiveNation, do you plan to take OML to international markets?

OML's main focus is India, and currently, we have no plans to go to other countries. There is a lot of work to be done in India itself.